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How to Landscape a Sloping Backyard (page 2 of 2)

See how the owners of a large townhome have a landscape designer solve the problem of a sloped backyard and a dull front yard.

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The Backyard Before

The backyard would be more of a challenge because the developer had used a bulldozer to scrape the building site out of a steep hill of chert. There were no surviving plants and only thin soil on that hillside. At the top of the hill along the property line was a chainlink fence. An existing 25’x 25’ wooden deck extended from the house. The only hardscape was an existing deck. The owners’ intention was to replace the existing deck flooring and try to make the steep, scarred chert slope look presentable.

Backyard After

The owners decided to increase the deck space by eliminating the lower planting bed that bordered one half of the house. Now the multi-level deck stretches across the entire back of the townhome.

Tea olives were planted along the side and large hollies along the back property. Until the tea olives grow tall enough to insure privacy, the owners had a 6’ tall trellis of winter jasmine installed between the tea olives and the deck.

The owners originally specified they wanted the steep hillside next to the deck to have year round good looks from evergreens. However, they chose to replace the plan of three evergreen shrubs - gardenias, false cypress, and prostrate rosemary with two deciduous shrubs - Little Lime hydrangeas and snowball viburnum, and one evergreen – sasanqua camellias, covering the steep hillside.

The focal point, the Japanese maple, was shifted up the hill to make room for the deck extension. A dramatic weeping Japanese maple has been recommended for the area below the retaining wall to the right of the deck. This is a beautiful year-round tree, showing off its lovely bones in winter and delicate foliage during the other three seasons.

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